Empowered by a federal court ruling that allows protesters to legally sleep on public sidewalks, as long as they don’t block building entrances or take up more than half of the available space, #SleepfulProtest is proving to be an effective new tactic helping speed Occupy Wall Street’s re-emergence into the streets and public spaces of the US. (My colleague Allison Kilkenny recently explained and explored this new strategy.)
It’s been so effective, in fact, that this morning at 6:00 am the NYPD, in direct defiance of the 2000 decision Metropolitan Council Inc. v. Safir, which held “public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression” to be constitutionally protected speech, raided the corner across from the New York Stock Exchange where Occupiers have been sleeping. A motion for an emergency injunction against NYPD disruption of the sidewalk protests was filed this morning.
In the meantime, here are five ways you can help support the Re-Occupation of America:
1. Go to Wall Street to join the Occupiers if you can. This is the epicenter of the movement and the inspiration for what has happened across the country. During the day, Occupiers distribute literature or hold meetings around Liberty Square, Union Square, and throughout the city. As many as one hundred people have been sleeping nightly on Wall Street—with only a few thousand more the entire length of Wall Street could be legally occupied.
2. Spread the word. Keep up with the latest developments from all of the Occupied media sources. The best way to receive current updates on new encampments and other events is to use social media. The Wall Street Occupiers use @SleepOnWallSt. For twenty-four-hour protests in other cities, check out #SleepfulProtest and #BankSleep. Like and share this Facebook page. Also follow and RT @occupywallstnyc and @occupycolleges.
3. Donate to Occupy Wall Street through its website. If you don´t have money to spare, another way to contribute is to follow the Twitter hashtag #NeedsOfTheOccupiers. Occupiers are often in need of donations of things like food, water, tarps and camping gear.
4. Get ready for the May 1 actions. This is expected to be a major day of resistance on many fronts and of many forms. Do something!
5. Help save Chicago’s Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic. Dozens of people who use Chicago’s mental health clinics along with other advocates have barricaded themselves into the Woodlawn Clinic at 6337 S. Woodlawn. This is one of six clinics slated for closure in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s austerity budget. They intend to remain there until the mayor agrees to keep all of Chicago’s direly needed public clinics open, fully funded and fully staffed. Check #SaveOurClinics for info on how to help. If you’re in Chicago, go to the clinic!
Please use the comments field below to let me know what I’ve missed.